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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Types of RFID Interrogators

The three types of RFID interrogators are

  • Fixed
  • Hand-held
  • Mobile interrogators

Table 3.1 highlights the major characteristics of each type of interrogator.

Table 3.1. Interrogator Types and Their Characteristics

Interrogator Type


Fixed Interrogators:

Can read tags as well as write to tags, depending on the type


Can be mounted to walls, doors, or other structures

Can be integrated with stationary devices, such as conveyors, door portals, sortation systems, manufacturing lines, and others

Need an external power source

Typically can accommodate multiple antennas

Can be hard-wired or wirelessly connected to the local area network (LAN)

Hand-held Interrogators:


Hand-held interrogators can be either tethered or wireless.

Are much smaller than fixed interrogators and usually come in the shape of "a gun" or a tablet

Have capabilities similar to those of fixed interrogators but are much smaller

Can be used not only to read from tags but also to write to tags (some models, however, are just read-only)

Have an antenna built into the unit

Are primarily used for exception processing due to their portability and capabilities

Can be used in low-volume applications for tag data verification, case, and pallet association or tag searches

Can have both barcode and RFID functionality

Tethered interrogators

Are tied directly into the IT infrastructure

Don't need their own power because they are typically connected to a power source through the attached tethered cable

Have limited mobility due to their wired connections to other devices and to their external power source

Wireless interrogators

Are connected to the network through a wireless LAN protocol or device-specific protocols

Need a power source (battery) built into the device

Are able to achieve greater mobility due to their wireless capability

Mobile Interrogators:


These interrogators can come in different forms (for instance mobile phone, PDA, or vehicle mounted).

Can have PCMCIA cards to connect to laptop PCs Differ from hand-held interrogators in size and form factor

Usually are powered from their own power source (battery) or by the vehicle they are mounted on

Typically have wireless connectivity

Mobile phones and PDAs

Are very small in size but have fairly advanced functionality

Are a proven technology

Are attractive to industrial applications

Vehicle mounted interrogators

Are typically mounted on forklifts or clamp trucks

Are built to withstand environmental extremes

Are placed for minimal contact with material being handled

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